Written by Linda Spencer
You know how it goes – you talk to financial advisors, they work with you to create a plan for financial savings and investment. You talk to your fitness coach, they work with you to create a plan to reach your fitness goals. You plan your wedding, your home renovations, your family vacations. You spend time and money investing in planning in other areas of your life, why wouldn’t you do the same for your business?
Investing in strategic business planning is essential for your business success. A strategic business plan is your road map, your compass to guide you to where you want to go with your business. It gives you clear direction of how to get from point A to point B without getting lost. A good strategic business plan helps you to execute efficiently and not waste time with trial and error, or with what I like to call, the spaghetti method (throwing something at the wall and hoping it sticks). A good strategic plan keeps you focused.
It’s never too late (or too early) to create your business plan for success, whether you’re new to business and in the pre-launch phase, or have been in business for years.
I get it, creating a business plan can be daunting (I know – I’ve seen the templates, tried to use them myself, and abandoned them as they gave me headaches). You don’t need a 50 page business plan document, but you do need to invest some time and energy into the planning exercise if you want to have focus and direction. My own business plan isn’t a 50 page document… it’s an organized, tabbed binder with different sections of business planning consideration (such as goals, target market, products & services, pricing strategies, sales & marketing strategies, financial plans, etc).
Having a good strategic business plan is absolutely essential to your success and the lack thereof is why so many businesses fail.
In fact, 85% of business failures are due to lack of improper planning and organization.
But you don’t need a 50 page plan to succeed. What you do need is a simple, executable plan that will help you succeed! And you need to do your homework! A written plan is just evidence that you’ve done your homework to ensure the viability of your big idea and to set a clear direction and path to success.
Here are 8 simple steps to creating your business plan for success:
Continue reading 8 Simple Steps to Create Your Business Success Road Map
Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur? It can happen more quickly than you might think. One minute you are at the top of your game, but then you blink and suddenly feel as if the world has moved on without you. When you are an entrepreneur this is more than an annoyance; it can have serious implications on your business. Here are some tips that will help you to stay ahead of the curve:
Spend time on social media.
Social media is everywhere and it is current up to the minute. By investing half an hour online each day, you will keep yourself up to date on recent news, events and trends.
Keep current with technology.
Read blogs and industry publications to get a sense of the technology that is being used by your customers and your competition. Take a look at your work processes and see if there are any areas where more advanced technology might benefit your business. If you are not naturally a ‘techie’ person, find a friend or a networking contact that is and see if they have any suggestions for you.
The best way to find out what people are talking about is to get out there and talk to people. Ask them what’s going on in their business. Those with strong networks are the first to find out about everything.
Join professional associations.
Become a member and actually attend events such as workshops, trade shows and conferences. These are all opportunities to make connections and to find out what’s hot in your industry.
Read the newspaper.
This one is obvious, but when we’re busy running a business and packing lunches for school, it might not be your top priority. Catch up on the news whenever you can; you never know what possibilities might be hiding in those pages.
When you are an entrepreneur, there are opportunities all around you. The problem is that if you are not plugged in, you could miss out on all of them. Keeping yourself current should be a priority that you work at on a daily basis. Don’t let the world pass you by!
(Written by: Karen Bivand, photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)
Thanksgiving is the time of year when we show appreciation for everything that we’ve been given. Entrepreneurs are very focused on showing gratitude to their customers, but may not pay as much attention to the other people who support them. Consider all the help that you have received from your network. They are the ones who send you referrals, sing your praises, let you know about opportunities, and support you in the difficult days. Let’s take this Thanksgiving to say thank you to all the amazing people in our networks.
Here are some ways that you can show your gratitude:
People are so touched when we take the time to say thank you. It doesn’t cost anything, so it makes you wonder why we don’t do it more. You can do it in person, by email or even send a handwritten card. The key is to clearly communicate how they helped and what it meant to you.
Give Them a Shout Out.
Most people appreciate public recognition, particularly other entrepreneurs. It makes them look and feel good and it can even serve as free advertising for them. Social media and your online newsletter are both great tools for showing your appreciation publicly. Keep it short and sweet and emphasize how amazing they are.
Find Ways to Assist Them.
Networking is a two-way street. If you find ways to help the people in your network, they will return the favour. Keep your eyes open for any opportunities that you can send their way.
Take a Personal Interest.
The best networks are not limited to business transactions. If you want to build strong relationships, you need to stop looking at people as contacts and make an effort to get to know them. When you build friendships with the people in your network, you benefit both personally and professionally. Ask your contacts about their family and their interests. You may even want to invite them out for a coffee just to chat. Most people will be flattered that you are trying to get to know them better.
Everyone loves to be appreciated, so taking some time to say thank you is good for both you and your business. However, it’s not just about what you get from it, it’s about the kind of person you want to be. Don’t spend so much time complaining about the rain that you don’t even notice the person who’s holding an umbrella over your head.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)
We’re always so busy rushing from one place to the next that we rarely stop to think about how lucky we are. Take some time this weekend to reflect on all that you have.
Here are five things that every mompreneur should be grateful for:
Even though you’ve had your ups and downs, your family has supported you in your decision to forgo a ‘regular’ job and start this adventure.
These amazing women forged the path that we walk today.
They believe in what you’re doing and they keep your doors open.
Not everyone is brave enough to go it alone and start their own business. Something within you made this option possible.
The Long Weekend
Time to relax and hang out with your family; isn’t that what it’s all about?!
(Written by: Karen Bivand)
For entrepreneurs, getting people to like you isn’t just about being popular; it’s your bread and butter.
Here are five proven strategies that will help you make the right impression when making new contacts:
You are the most comfortable when you are being exactly who you are. Be true to yourself and people will be drawn to you.
Look someone in the eye, say hello and introduce yourself. Your confidence will put others at ease.
It’s the same advice your mom gave you when you were a kid and it still holds true today.
Be Interested in Others.
Ask people questions about themselves. Everyone likes to connect to people who take an interest in them.
Make a conscious effort to have a positive outlook and people will want to be around you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)